COVID-19 created unique challenges for the Aged Care sector. The practices and processes that Aged Care operators implemented to protect their residents put further pressure on already constrained workforces, and the requirement for staff to only work at one home reduced the available workforce dramatically, creating a risk of staff shortages. Most concerning was the isolation that residents experienced with no face to face family contact.
Resourcing solutions were desperately required, however, sourcing candidates to work in Aged Care is challenging even in normal times, let alone during a pandemic when infection rates in some homes were very high, the reputation of the sector was in question and Victoria was experiencing the impacts of a second wave.
deliberatepractice was fortunate to partner with Japara, one of Australia’s largest providers of residential aged care and retirement living, to solve this challenge and deliver a skilled and trained workforce that could be deployed in to a facility at short notice. This was known as the Surge Workforce, and their ultimate aim was to improve residents’ experiences in isolation through COVID-19.
Many challenges faced the team in developing and implementing the Surge Workforce solution, including:
- Major shortages of qualified talent, with qualifications taking 12+ months to obtain;
- Publicity impacting the attractiveness of the sector as an employer;
- Ensuring a compliant workforce to follow hygiene practices;
- Attracting talent and identifying those with the attributes to succeed; and
- Delivering at pace to ensure support was there when most required.
deliberatepractice and Japara’s co-developed Surge Workforce Solution was a custom designed integrated recruitment and onboarding program that was cost effective, fit for purpose, highly innovative in its approach, and met business needs.
Key elements to the solution included:
- In depth role analysis and role re-design;
- Development of unique sourcing channels that leveraged deliberatepractice’s client partners;
- Integrated, informative and engaging communications strategy including micro-site development;
- Skills, attributes and fit assessment designed to support a high volume of applications including the utilisation of an AI screening tool. Candidate engagement, care and responsiveness were key;
- Online compliance, work rights and other checks;
- Customised competency simulation; and
- Customised onboarding, training and induction process.
The identification of workers with aligned, transferrable skills enabled deliberatepractice to work with a selection of client partner employers who, due to COVID-19, had a surplus of available workers. Client partners actively sought inclusion in the program to provide their stood down workforces the opportunity to gain new experience, offer their expertise and provide another source of income. Another key benefit of this solution was that it was a finite engagement – as client partners’ businesses required workforces to return, the Surge Workforce requirement would diminish. This provided client partners the comfort that their highly valued workforces would return.
Stakeholder Feedback & Outcomes
deliberatepractice and Japara’s Surge Workforce Solution had a hugely positive impact on the lives of residents and supported Japara’s permanent employees as they performed their roles in such trying conditions. Outcomes, KPIs and post program reviews exceeded expectations including:
- 100% of Facility Managers stating that the Surge Workforce was ‘Extremely Valuable’ in adding value and support to their facility and residents;
- 100% of managers rated all staff as High or Very High Quality; and
- 100% of managers rated the Surge Workforce as possessing adequate transferable skills and experience to be successful in the roles.
Other highly valued outcomes realised included:
- The development of new pathways for non-aged care workforces in to this high growth sector;
- A lasting improvement in customer services practices; and
- The appointment of a number of Surge Workforce employees permanently into the sector.
deliberatepractice with Japara have developed and delivered a resourcing model and workforce solution for the Aged Care sector. Applicable to a wide range of settings and sectors, our model presents a solution to the transitional requirements that workforces will have to face in the near future, future-proofing organisations as they tackle the impact of change on workforce requirements.
deliberatepractice is a vibrant, contemporary, leading HR consulting firm. For over 11 years we have delivered contemporary and practical HR solutions, drawing upon our deep specialisation in HR Recruitment, Project Recruitment, Leadership, Assessment & Development and Outplacement.
For further details, contact Peter Bowen, Managing Partner, on +61 3 9008 5840 or firstname.lastname@example.org